Master Toddy's online PPV female bare-knuckle TV show
OK, where to start?
In January, this thread appeared on an Australian kickboxing magazine forum. Master Toddy (you may remember him from such TV shows as Fight Girls) was making the "new" Fight Girls and would be holding auditions in Melbourne and Sydney.
The flyer automatically raised a few red flags for me: why was there no production companies, TV networks or other third parties mentioned anywhere? Why did the "promo clip" look like it was done with a handi-cam and iMovie?
More red flags came with this post:
Individuals will be chosen according to personality and determination. It will not be based on skill level or lack of Muay Thai knowledge. So this means if you are a world champion fighter or just a beginner does not mean you will not be picked.
Niiice. So you have to pay them to audition, and they're looking for the biggest norks -- er, I mean, biggest "determination'" -- not the best fighters.
There is a registration fee TBA for the audition goes towards the production of your audition tape and photos. You will receive a copy of your professionally taken pictures and audition tape.
Anyway, it looked blatantly dodgy to me, but apparently not so to the 50-odd chicks who showed up to the auditions, presumably doling out their cash and time for their chance to become a "reality TV super star".
Anyway, a few months have passed, and the thread flares up again: what's happening with this program? Have they chosen the fighters?
I'm still kind of curious, so I fired up the interwebs for a bit of Google-fu. No mention of the show outside of similar martial art forum posts and Master Toddy-related websites. No production companies. No TV networks.
... well, whatever: so Toddy wants to produce this out of his own pocket and then try to sell it to TV stations? Pretty optimistic, and I'd feel a bit ripped if I'd travelled a long way and paid to audition, but those people could easily have done the same research I did and seen this for themselves (though most people are very gullible, and don't approach the martial arts and TV industries with the skepticism they should).
Then I found this article:
The Tuff Girls series has been based on a previous series called Fight Girls but the new series is different because contestants will use hand wraps instead of full gloves but Pollet said the opportunities at the end of the show could be very similar.
"All of the girls were asked in their interview if they were okay with fighting bare-knuckle because that is the traditional way to fight in Thailand," he said.
I went to Toddy's webpage to suss it out and was greeted with a video advertising a PPV event called "bare knuckle fury": "Grandmaster Toddy goes deep underground for real, uncut, raw fights".
I searched "Bare Knuckle Fury" and got this ugly webpage: Live Stream Pay Per View, featuring a clip of two guys in traditional clothes doing the old Muay Boran "climb the vine" technique.
Here's the pitch to potential advertisers:
From unsanctioned Bare Knuckle Fights in the inner cities to the remote jungle training camps Grand Master Toddy will take you on an Incredible journey into the heart of Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) in Thailand.
In addition to the Bare Knuckle card you will witness a Female Muay Thai fight You'll also see All-American Susan Kocab’s journey from Montana (were she held an amateur boxing record of 20-2) as she battles to become one of Master Toddy’s Tuff Grlz’s. Watch her train while she learns about the battle hardened Muay Thai fight game and see whether she can make it in their extremely tough world
This uncensored material will be first shown on livestrempayperview and then syndicated to International TV partners. As with previous Master Toddy features on USA networks such as Oxygen the producers fully expect this material to go Viral after the initial Live broadcasts .
No mention of who these "International TV partners" are.
More info on the "Box Office" page:
Then I watched the "bare knuckle fury" clip again. Certainly it was bare knuckle fighting, but in a pro ring, with sponsors and refs. Not exactly "underground". Then it hit me: it's the freaking Mae Sot Burma-Thai border bare knuckle fights.
All viewers will get to follow modern day Muy Thai legend, Grand Master Toddy, his disciples, and his associates as they delve into the heart of Muay Thai, listen to the stories about the origins and spiritual elements of the secretive Muay Thai training bases that existed for hundreds of years and the “pure extract” from which Muay Thai that evolved long before the term was ever uttered throughout the rest of the mainstream world.
Follow this riveting journey with Master Toddy and you will be privileged to be a part of, and experience firsthand, the events as they unfold, witness every precise blow, the skill, the range, the strategy, the execution and the timing of the Muay Thai fighters as they emerge from the obscure corners of Thailand onto the center stage of the ultimate Muay Thai fight game
Yeah, that one:
Last year, Master Toddy, Britain's leading Thai trainer and promoter of kickboxing, brought over fighters from Las Vegas. The American fighters ran rings around the locals, which made for great TV but soured the spirit of the event and prompted the local organiser to keep the fights between Thais and Burmese in future.
"It was disgusting," says one Canadian photographer, who witnessed last year's carnage. "These steroid beefcakes were bashing the **** out of the Burmese and Thais. It wasn't fair. They are trained to the max in the States, while many of the local contestants are not professionally trained [and don't] have financial backing like their Western counterparts."
So the "TV show", as far as I can tell, is something along the lines of this: Master Toddy takes a bunch of girls chosen on looks rather than skills, trains them in "Muay Boran", puts them in the bare knuckle border fights (or something like it), then sells it online via PPV and hopes it picks up enough traction that a TV network buys it.
Does this seem awfully dubious to anyone else?